I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell –
my designs sell out!

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I listened to an educational program on public tv and learned the greatest indicator of future success is grit, the determination to see something through, planning and acting on goals set far in the future.  IQ, emotional intelligence, and other obvious choices for success won’t do it.  I got a little bored with the program and slept the afternoon away on the couch.  After all, if we’re talking about goals that are years away, I have lots of future time to work on those kinds of things.

Kidding aside, I suspect the earnest public tv speaker is probably right, even though she didn’t have any suggestions how to drill some grit into people.  I also took a few moments to consider the criticism I’ve received for having too much of it.  “Stop and smell the flowers” and “live in the moment” advice from earnestly happy-seeming people started coming back to me. 

I’m sure most of these people were well-meaning, but I couldn’t change my nature.  I had an absolute need to paint pretty things, and most of my life frustrations centered around a lack of opportunities in my chosen field or the obstacles other people put in my way towards reaching my goals.  The more people told me “No”, the more determined I was to show them wrong.

Sometimes I think back on my past selves and wonder how I had the strength to keep banging away at these things.  Absolute focus takes an awful lot of energy to maintain over years, and I got tired, had meltdowns, and kept getting up and doing it again because I couldn’t/wouldn’t change my direction.  Someday somebody’s going to say that stubborn is an integral part of grit.

“Success” is a word with a lot of meanings, and I figure the lady on tv only meant it as professional success.  All those happy flower smellers probably achieved emotional successes that I didn’t spend my time achieving.  I’m not sure if I regret that or if I feel pleased about it.  I’ve had an interesting life, and I got paid to paint pretty things.  I’ve even smelled a few flowers along the way.

I’ve been thinking about these things because of the unexpected turn my career has taken this year.  I spend a lot of my time planning and number crunching, and that’s a long way from my happy time spent painting flowers.  On the other hand, I have a fatalistic thought that somehow all this number crunching fits into the master plan even if I can’t see what the final goals are anymore.  Or maybe all my past grit makes me good at what I’m doing now because I can think ahead to long term goals?

Anymore, I think my long term goal is to achieve a soft retirement.  That’s a long ways away, but I can envision a time when I collect a pension, have money in the bank, and have unlimited time to paint pretty things.  Pshaw to all those people who’ve criticized me for being too single-minded.  I stop to smell the flowers every time I paint them.

This project is something I did for Mrs. Fields.  If you want to buy it, you can go here, but I don’t get anything from it if you do.  The cookies are always good though.  The detail shows what the colors are supposed to look like.  I’ll spare you my internal rant about Chinese printers interfering with my single-mindedness.


  1. When we are young and life seems endless, we opt for smelling flowers. Then all of the sudden the word retirement pops up in our vocabulary. (When did that happen?) Then we look back and evaluate our lives. Did we show enough strength of character all the time or some of the time? Do we need to catch up with things before it is too late? Or have we balanced smelling the flowers with a healthy economic sense? No matter what, Linda, next to your work and your love for painting pretty flowers, your faculties of thinking are wonderfully active.

  2. I hope I can enjoy painting in my old age. I know I need bifocals right now. Getting old is so irritating.

  3. As something of an educator, I often hear people who want success to be based on something other than grit, but (the researchers and) I have yet to find anything. I get a sense of your grittiness from your blog posts and see a bright present and future for you. Lovely cookie tin too!

  4. What a scary thought not to be able to paint when we get old! I better start eating more carrots or something. My great grandpa used to say that if you want to keep your mind when you're old you've got to use it and learn new things all the time. I think he was right. Thanks for the comments everybody!

  5. The word "pretty" was drilled into me as a bad word when I was very young. Probably a teacher in grade one or two... You've managed to resurrect the word as a good one for me. Thanks!

  6. Isn't it interesting how a good word can be corrupted by some people? I like pretty and just about everything that is pretty. I hope you have a pretty day Rand!

  7. The only problem I have with this idea of "grit" is the word itself, which makes me think of rough-hewn cowboys. But I totally agree with the concept. Grit can be a much quieter thing, and it sure is a good thing.....

  8. I don't feel much like rough-hewn cowboy :) Thanks for the comment Coreopsis!

  9. I have slowly learned that success has many definitions and that we achieve those individual successes over different time spans and with different attitudes.

    You're right - you have to "want it and work for it" - regardless.

    I'd buy that tin of cookies! Even with the Chinese touches. :)

  10. Beautiful flowers!

    I wish I'd had more grit when I was younger, but I just wasn't quite sure where my energies should go. Or, I did, I wanted to be an artist but I was talked out of some things that in hindsight I should not have allowed.

    On the other hand, I'm now finally putting a lot of time into art, and though I have wistful regrets about the many years I could have been improving my skills, I'm pretty happy now, despite having a regular job and using many hours a night and on weekends for art.

    Everyone has to find their own way, of course, and we all have some combination of single-mindedness and the smell the flowers approach. But not every process works for everyone, and I consider anyone lucky who finds their way, even if it takes many years to do so. :)